New York Army National Guard Soldiers are taking part in Shared Accord 2022 with South African National Defense Force counterparts as part of the State Partnership Program.
"The New York Army National Guard, the Reserves, and the U.S. Army are extremely excited to reinvigorate our partnership now that the COVID pandemic has subsided," said Col. Christopher Cronin, the New York Army National Guard's deputy director for the exercise. "Our Soldiers thoroughly enjoy partnering, learning and training with all our brothers and sisters of the South African National Defense Force."
This year's iteration of Shared Accord focuses on a medical readiness and field training exercise to demonstrate interoperability and strengthen partnerships.
"The aim of the exercise Shared Accord 2022 is to improve bilateral military interoperability, to conduct maritime force protection operations against conventional and asymmetric threats at sea and in harbors, conduct air support operations to peace support operations for landward forces, and to exercise the provision of medical assistance and humanitarian relief to own forces and the local population," a spokesperson for the SANDF said.
Even more rewarding is the special opportunity during this iteration of Shared Accord to partner with the SANDF to provide vital health education and treatment, Cronin added, as Soldiers participating in the exercise will provide primary health care, dental and veterinary services in several areas, including Richards Bay and Empangeni in the uMhlathuze Municipality, as well as in Mtubatuba.
Shared Accord 2022 marks the fourth event in the series, with previous iterations in 2011, 2013 and 2017. A planned Shared Accord 2020 fell victim to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2003 New York Army and Air National Guard members have participated in South African air shows and military competitions and presented at South African military schools and leadership forums. South Africans, in turn, have visited New York Air National Guard bases and New York Army National Guard training events to share their knowledge.